Friday, November 21, 2014

Home of the Bills


A hearty welcome to our lake effect brothers in cleats. Enjoy the facilities.

Some in G.O.P. Fear That Their Hard-Liners Will Alienate Latino Voters
Ya think? Fortunately vacation is more important than "anarchy, ethnic cleansing and Constitutional crisis."

Among them is Representative Steve King of Iowa, once a fringe figure against immigration and now a voice of rising prominence, to many leaders’ chagrin. Congressional leaders were privately relieved that many Republicans had left Washington for the Thanksgiving holiday before Mr. Obama announced plans for his address, reducing the availability of anti-immigration conservatives for cable-television bookers seeking reactions.

Why Republicans Are So Mad About Obama's Immigration Order
Paul Waldman explains (the latest) Republican angst - Obama's not showing deference, he's backing them into a corner on policy, they never thought he was legitimate in the first place, and there's not a whole lot they can do about it without looking like a bunch of crackpots. Which they will do anyway, because they can't help themselves.

Republicans' greatest fear about this is that Obama will go ahead and do what he wants and they won't be able to stop him, even though they worked so hard to gain full control of Congress after six long years. They won the election, his approval ratings are low, they firmly believe they're right, and yet this president they loathe so much is about to just walk all over them anyway. No wonder they're mad.

Paul Ryan Sad That Obama’s Immigration Plan Hurts Chance to Cut Taxes for the Rich
I call the elevation of Paul Ryan to Chairman of Ways & Means the "Jon Chait Full Employment Act of 2015." This guy is gonna have a field day. Or, year, as the case may be.

The funny thing is that he is using this prospect as some kind of inducement to Obama. But of course Obama doesn’t want to pass a tax reform that lowers revenue and makes the tax code less progressive. He wants taxes to raise more revenue and be more progressive. It’s just bizarre for Ryan to lament that Obama’s plans to make immigration enforcement more humane is costing him the chance to cut taxes for the rich.

Conservatives to GOP leaders: Fight Obama to the end
Greg Sargent points out that yes, a Republican Congress can find all kinds of ways to f this up by attaching riders to important funding legislation - and then blame Obama for "shutting down the government". It would then be up to squishy Dems to stand strong. Would they bail?

Of course, conservatives will demand that GOP leaders pursue this strategy, because they appear to believe that if Republicans hang in there long enough, the shuttering of important government functions will ultimately put pressure on Obama to relent. It’s very possible that the politics of this fight could get very dicey for Democrats. You could see a situation in which a handful of Senate Democrats (who support legislative reform but are uncomfortable with the substance or politics of unilateral action) initially defect and side with Republicans against Obama’s move.

Obama’s advantage is that he has an immigration policy. Republicans don’t.
Ezra Klein points out we still don't know the Rs plan. Will the media start asking what it is?

And what are their alternatives? Impotent rage? A government shutdown? A slow-moving lawsuit? A disastrous impeachment effort? A solemn vow that whatever damage Obama does to the constitutional order, Republicans will double it when they retake the White House? All of these are likelier to wound the GOP than Obama. None of these are likely to benefit the party in 2016. And none of them solve the underlying problem.

After Obama's Immigration Speech
All joking aside, stretching the executive power can lead down a path we really don't want to go. Thomas Mann wants you to remember that this was brought on by unprecedented Republican obstructionism (or, abdication of responsibility, as someone else put it last night), and when that happens, problem-solving falls disproportionately onto the other branches of government. No way to run the three-legged railroad.

Let’s get serious. Republicans used their majority foothold in the House to guarantee that Congress would be the graveyard of serious policymaking, a far cry from the deliberative first branch of government designed by the framers. They have reduced the legislative process to nothing more than a tool in a partisan war to control the levers of public power. The cost of such unrelenting opposition and gridlock is that policymaking initiative and power inevitably will flow elsewhere -- to the executive and the courts.

No, Your Ancestors Didn’t Come Here Legally
A brief explainer on American immigration policy through the years. Unless you are of Chinese descent from the West Coast, they didn't start closing the doors to entry until after WWI. After that, it was a matter of ideology, national quotas, and basically a convoluted mess. Targeting of Mexico and other countries south of the US started in 1965.

Prior to 1875’s Page Act and 1882’s Chinese Exclusion Act, there were no national immigration laws. None. There were laws related to naturalization and citizenship, to how vessels reported their passengers, to banning the slave trade. Once New York’s Castle Garden Immigration Station opened in 1855, arrivals there reported names and origins before entering the U.S. But for all pre-1875 immigrants, no laws applied to their arrival. They weren’t legal or illegal; they were just immigrants.

In Which the President Speaks About My Grandmother
The reason I included the above is that I thought about it too, during that speech. How did my great-great-grandparents find the reception in this country when they first arrived? I have no idea. It's lost to time. But I know that I'm a European mutt, not originally of this continent, and the people granted relief last night were once my own.

But, for now, when I saw the video of the people who were most directly affected by the president's actions, the people with a glimmer of hope in their eyes, the people waving the little flags a little more vigorously, I knew that the president had the moral and historical high ground on this issue. I saw my grandmother among them, come to America and a job folding sheets for the swells, first in Boston and then in Worcester. The heart of the experience is the same. The hope is the same. And the rest is all for later.

Falling Wages at Factories Squeeze the Middle Class
Why is Michigan now a poor state, with income per capita in the bottom ten? Because we eliminated good paying auto parts and other manufacturing jobs an replaced them with temp positions that pay half the price and no benefits. As the auto sector fell, other manufacturing sectors (like furniture, i.e. Steelcase) were free to lower their standards as well.

Pressured by temporary hiring practices and a sharp decrease in salaries in the auto parts sector, real wages for manufacturing workers fell by 4.4 percent from 2003 to 2013, NELP researchers found, nearly three times the decline for workers as a whole.

Read the whole thing for the story of Michigan in a nutshell. The statistics now match the previous predictions.